'The Butler': Michael Reagan, Experts Say Ex-President Portrayal Inaccurate

Image: 'The Butler': Michael Reagan, Experts Say Ex-President Portrayal Inaccurate Alan Rickman as Ronald Reagan in "The Butler."

Tuesday, 27 Aug 2013 11:42 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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While Lee Daniels' "The Butler" has scored at the box office, it continues to draw the ire of Ronald Reagan supporters and family members like Michael Reagan who have complained about how the late president is portrayed in the movie.

"The Butler" is a fictional account of White House butler Eugene Allen, who served eight presidents and rose to head butler by the time he retired in 1986 while serving Reagan.

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Reagan's son, Michael, who knew Allen, blasted the film for insinuating that his father, played in the movie by British actor Alan Rickman, was racist and invited him and his wife to a state dinner as a sign of tokenism.

"After comparing Hollywood's absurd version of Eugene Allen's life story with the truth, you wonder why the producers didn't just call it 'The Butler from Another Planet,'" Reagan wrote in his syndicated column that appeared in the Patriot-News and Newsmax. "Portraying Ronald Reagan as a racist because he was in favor of lifting economic sanctions against South Africa is simplistic and dishonest."

Reagan biographer Paul Kengor, who authored two books on the former president, including "The Crusader" and "God and Ronald Reagan," told The Hollywood Reporter that "The Butler" was inaccurate with how it presents Reagan.

"I’ve talked to many White House staff, cooks, housekeepers, doctors, and Secret Service over the years," Kengor said. "They are universal in their love of Ronald Reagan."

Another Reagan biographer, Craig Shirley, told Breitbart that a scene in the movie showing Reagan's insistence against sanctions against apartheid South Africa was inaccurate.

"South Africa was racist (apartheid) due to white minority rule but also the only country on the African continent that was strongly anti-communist," Shirley said. "The Soviets had a long history of world racism, anti-Semitism and anti-gay.

"Reagan’s nuanced approach was called 'Constructive Engagement' in supporting South Africa’s anti-communism while pushing its government towards the inevitable. Few seem to realize that South Africa made the transition from white minority rule to black majority rule with a minimal loss of life, unlike, say, Rhodesia," Shirley added.

Edward Meese, Reagan's former attorney general, told Newsmax that his old boss was "opposed to any type of discrimination or mistreatment of anyone on the basis of race, or quite frankly any other innate characteristic."

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Related stories:

The Butler from Another Planet

Ed Meese to Newsmax: 'Butler' Movie Wrong to Portray Reagan as Racist

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